Thank you Nigella! Domestic Goddess of Easy Streets entertaining. Having removed the last spare duck from its frozen home on Thursday to defrost in the fridge (i needed the space) with a grand plan of cooking it for Saturday nights' post-conference dinner. Home at 3pm with the bean, 7 people due at half six, gear to unload and chaos to clear I was left with no choice but to commit to the damn thing.! fuck fuck fuck! With tales of hairdryers and half cooked ducks, hours of roasting, dried out flesh and burnt skin shadowing my memory bank, I wasnt feeling very confident. In a manner quite unlike me, I really hadnt prepared what we were going to eat, I just knew it was 'had to involve a duck. I had vegos and allergies to cater to and wasnt sure of the full extent of allergies until the day so I figured Id just have to wing it as best as I could without killing the guests. Besides, I had no other main!
So, at half four, duck in front of me and no time to re-commit or dither nor do anything fancy (ie: involving any preparation- i didnt even remove the neck! eek!) and with a kid meal and bath to fit in somewhere and allergies of the soy, lactose and wheat variety (no pasta, no asian, no cheese), i was definitely going to have to let the basics of the meal speak for themselves. I pulled her off the shelf. Nigella. Domestic Goddess of the need-to-channel-a-bit-of-that-right-now, kind. I resolved that unless it involved a mars bar, some marshmallows and a bottle of Coke, whatever I found in there, I was doing exactly what she told me. She told me to boil the duck in a big bath of water. So I did. She told me to remove it after a while and to feel free to leave it hanging around cold until forty minutes before dinner. So I did. She told me to roast the bird for half an hour in very high heat. So I did. It was freakin excellent! Crispy and moist and completely unadorned, besides salt n pepper, it was delicious. New motto - No duck too big or too small! Boil n bake.
True to style at some point of the routine however, the next day I did add some carrot, celery and onion to the duck bath, reintroduced the refridgerated carcass and uneaten bum n neck, bay and seasonings, boiled the bathwater down further, strained and fridge set. et viola. Rendered duck fat and 4 litres of stock.